Traditional red clay pottery in Agios Demetrios


Agios Dimitrios Cultural Foundation

Communities Concerned - Bearers of the element:

Potters, Agios Dimitrios Community Council, Agios Dimitrios Traditional Pottery Museum, Agios Dimitrios Cultural Foundation, Holy Bishopric of Morphou.

Domain of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 

Traditional craftsmanship

Date of inscription:


Brief description:

To create pottery in Agios Demetrios, they used to use local raw materials, hence the colour and quality of the pots. They would get the soil from the Petsouna and Moni areas. They would beat it with a mallet in the workshop, before sifting it and fermenting it with water. They would use the soil from both locations (half and half), as one was clayey and the other sandy. The combination of the two ensured success in creating the pot. The pots were created in back yards, on a special wheel that was created by the potters themselves. The wheel was wooden, low, foot-powered and slow-moving. By spinning the wheel with their foot, the potters had their hands free to model the pot.

The decoration of the pots was simple, dotted, incised or engraved and was made with small pieces of wood. The same decoration of linear designs continues until today. It is worth noting that certain potters would carve their initials into the pots they were creating, so they could be distinctive. The types of pottery they would create included cooking utensils (pots and plates), pittoplakes (trays to bake pie), beehives, censers, flower pots and small decorative pots. Today, they mainly create decorative urns, censers, kouzes (small pitchers) and small koumnes (for milk).

The furnaces in which the pottery was made were cylindrical and open on top. Between the bottom part (fire chamber) and the top part, where they would place the pots to be baked, there was a separating rack. Each neighbourhood had its own furnace, which the potters would use together, helping each other out. The pottery would be baked at 800 degrees and take on a reddish colour. Proper baking demanded know-how and experience.  Today, the Cyprus Handicraft Service is responsible for baking the pottery. Baking in a modern oven allows the pottery to take on a uniform, reddish colour, without any black marks that would often appear when baked in a furnace with wood. In parallel with the workshops offered by the Agios Demetrios Traditional Pottery Museum to train potters, an effort is being made to re-operate the traditional wood furnace in the village, to bring back the traditional way of baking pottery with wood (kaminiasma).